Christin has been completing her trainee program in the Human Resources department since October 2021. In this interview, she talks about her trainee program at RKW, why she decided to start her career this way, and what she would recommend to other graduates.
Hey Christin! Can you briefly describe how your trainee program at RKW is structured?
The program takes a total of two years. During this period, I change the area every three to six months. The stages I go through are planned in advance, but not time-bound. This means that upcoming projects, the need in the different HR areas and my own wishes are taken into account. This allows me to support the different areas very well and to be responsible for my own projects within the stations.
You've been an HR trainee for almost a year. What have you experienced so far and which teams have you supported?
I started my trainee program in the Talent Acquisition team, where I spent four and a half months providing support in the areas of recruiting and employer branding. For example, I developed a recruiting manual, prepared and conducted job interviews, helped revise our career website, and participated in online career fairs.
Afterwards, I worked in HR Services for five months. Here I had the opportunity to get familiar with the topics of contract management, registration and certification, to maintain master data in our HR IT systems, to optimize processes, to provide support in accounting and to take care of all aspects of expatriate administration.
As of August 1st, I am now supporting the Compensation & Benefits area. Up until now, my main tasks here have been to revise related group policies and to support the preparation and implementation of (benchmark) surveys. And as in my previous station, I continue to take care of expat administration.
What does the rest of your trainee program look like?
At the end of September 2022, I will fly to our U.S. site in Kentucky and be involved in a project for three months. As mentioned earlier, the stations of the program can change as needed. This means that the further plan has to be discussed after my return. However, I will probably return to Compensation & Benefits first before moving on to the next station. By the end of my trainee program, I expect to have worked in Talent Development, HR Analytics & IT, and supported a Business Partner at one of our locations or at our headquarters.
Why did you specifically decide on a trainee program?
The exciting thing about a trainee program is that you can gain practical experience and get to know different departments in the company in more detail at the same time. It's also helpful for figuring out what career path you want to take and what you want to specialize in in the future.
In the course of my studies, as well as an associated internship and a working student position, I had the opportunity to get to know a small subarea of HR and gain initial professional experience. However, my goal was also to learn something about the other HR subareas and to gather knowledge.
Why did you decide to join the trainee program at RKW?
At RKW, you have the best of both worlds: a dynamic, medium-sized company and a high level of internationality with the opportunity to go abroad as well. That’s something I found very exciting from the very beginning. In addition, you have many development opportunities and, thanks to the hands-on mentality, the chance to get involved.
Another point as to why I chose RKW was the fast and easy recruiting process. During this time, I was able to get to know many future team colleagues and supervisors. Thanks to the second on-site interview, I also got to see the surroundings and the office.
In addition, RKW is one of very few companies in the region that offer (HR) trainee programs. Therefore, you should definitely take the chance if you are interested.
Why would you recommend the RKW trainee program to other graduates or interested parties?
The great thing is that you don't have a completely written out program with predetermined stations or a rigid duration. Instead, the trainee's interests and strengths are taken into account and a rough roadmap is discussed that can always be adjusted. As a trainee, I experienced that you can contribute your own ideas very well, you get a lot of responsibility and you can make a difference.
Furthermore, RKW operates in an industry with a great deal of potential and development opportunities, thus offering numerous career and development paths within the company. Because rkw has both a central headquarters and several (international) production sites, you get a multifaceted insight into a manufacturing business.
Did the expectations you had before starting the trainee program come true?
Absolutely! I was integrated very well into the team, and received appreciation and experienced the team spirit from day one. Due to the size of the company, I have had the opportunity to gain a deep insight into many areas across functions and locations and have already been able to gather an incredible amount of knowledge. Thanks to the program, I'm also able to take advantage of great opportunities, such as the upcoming project assignment in the US. I'm really looking forward to that and can't wait to see what else waits for me.